1. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    All my writing is gone, now what?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Talmay, Feb 2, 2013.

    When I was in the process of backing up my writing (the first time in over six months), my laptop died. Until I have the money to get it fixed, almost everything I wrote is gone; there's no way to know if I'll ever get it back. All the planning and world-building and little snippets. The only thing left is my previous backup which is hilariously outdated. I don't know how to cope with this.

    Most of the time I just sit around staring blankly at the wall. Other times I feel, I dunno, free? Like I had this enormous monster on my back who finally buggered off. But mostly depressed.

    So, has anyone had anything similar happen to them? If so, how did you deal with it?
     
  2. wavodavo
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    wavodavo Member

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    Sorry to hear about your loss. I find your reaction to it interesting - feelings of relief mixed in with loss. It resembles how many people feel about the death of a loved one.

    Anyhoo, have you researched software or services that recover lost or deleted data from hard drives? As long as your drive wasn't wiped, most of your stuff is likely still there. What had been lost is the little address book the computer keeps that points to where each of your documents is.

    Good luck. And please don't let this stop you from writing.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I sympathize. Fortunately, I've never had something like this happen to me. I back up my writing on a flash drive every few days. A flash drive is a cheap and useful investment, and I highly recommend it.

    My advice would be to keep on writing. Try to remember what you can and start from there. Or start a new project. But whatever you do, don't give up writing.
     
  4. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    I'm ridiculously OCD about this happening to me. I not only copy my WIP to an external HD frequently, I also email it myself. That's a good way to back it up if you don't have an external.
     
  5. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Well, if anything you can take it as a lesson, never only back your work up in a single place. In the future you can use services like dropbox, google drive, 4shared or even good old email atc as backup.
    Furthermore, you can recover your work even if your laptop doesn't work, provided your hdd isn't fried. Just take the drive (or the entire laptop if you are not experienced enough to take the hdd off by yourself) to a place where they service computers or even a friend with a laptop and ask them to connect your drive to their hardware. You will easily get the files back.
     
  6. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    I appreciate all the suggestions and sympathies!

    Usually, I use a flash drive to backup every few months while updating my Evernote account. I haven't been keeping up lately because my laptop was barely a year old; it was a Christmas present to myself last year, and I've been taking good care of it. So having it just randomly die is both heart-breaking and baffling (there was no lead up, either, turned it on to look at a walkthrough, turned it off, did it again an hour later and it never came back on).
     
  7. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I have a system I use that is cheap and easy.

    Everytime I save my writing, I e-mail it to myself on my Gmail account and give it a sequential number like 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, etc...

    Google mail is free and allows you to have over 10 Gigabytes of mail and attachment storage, so you'll never run out of space. Every week or so, I send all my writing files to myself as a large backup.

    This way I know I won't lose much if my computer dies AND I can access my writing from anywhere! ;)

    ~ J. J.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I always keep printouts of my stuff because I like to read it over and annotate it in red pen. So I have a new printout every few days at least, and more often when I'm writing lots.

    I also back up onto a flash drive, and onto my older laptop. My stories tend to reside in at least three places electronically and in paper form.

    I once had the experience of going to a family reunion and taking a ton of digital pictures of uncles, aunts, and cousins and their kids I hadn't seen in fifteen to twenty years. I kept them on an old laptop. The laptop died and I lost all those pics, and they're irreplaceable. Never again!

    Talmay, if I was in your position, I think I'd just start writing a new story. Get interested in a new project. If your computer is dead, write it by hand in a notebook. Just keep writing. This may be a disaster, but it's only a SERIOUS disaster if you let it stop you. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep your head above water and stay alive creatively.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say, embrace that feeling--not in the sense of abandoning the project, but in the sense that now you're free to do something different.

    If the old story still speaks to you, then start fresh from memory. Your memory probably contains the characters and moments that were most important to you, and spoke most strongly to you. The fresh story might, therefore, be better than what you had.

    If the old story feels sad and frustrating now, or you feel all tangled up because someday you'll probably get your writing back and you don't know what to do about what doesn't match, then start a new one.
     
  10. Sved
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    Sved Senior Member

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    I'm sorry to hear about your loss but they can probably fix it once you hand in the laptop. In the meantime, like the others say, have a short break from your usual projects and write something new.

    Personally I have found Dropbox to be easiest to use. I just put the files in the Dropbox folder and it's synced online, and I can access them from any computer.
     
  11. retrofreeze
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    retrofreeze New Member

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    All you have to do is put your dead laptop's hard drive in this case or similar: http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-NexStar-2-5-Inch-External-Enclosure/dp/B002JQNXZC and connect it to a working laptop via the USB cable. Then grab all the stuff you need and email it to yourself.

    You're welcome. Now get back to work! :)
     
  12. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Yeah, so long as it's the laptop and not the hard drive, using one of those USB adaptors will allow you to read off the files. Most laptops I've used have a special cover over the hard drive so you can just unscrew that cover, unplug the drive, plug it into the USB adaptor and then into the new computer. I did it myself when I replaced the drive in this laptop, and I think the adaptor I bought only cost about $5.
     
  13. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've had this happen to me at least three times in the past five years. Luckily, two out of three of those times I've had back-ups of (almost) everything I would hate to lose. I back-up my work every single time I write. I've a flash drive specifically for writing, but I often back-up my WIP to a second flash drive (that I take almost everywhere with me) and an external hard drive as well.

    I'd suggest starting a brand new project. It really helps with getting over the loss of an old one. :)
     
  14. Hambone
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    Hambone Member

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    Great ideas about emailing work back to yourself from some of the previous posts.

    A writer told me once that she threw away everything she had ever written to free herself. It left the slate completely clean for her. Until you get your info back, maybe you could take advantage of this feeling and start a new project.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mailing to yourself only works if your email is web-based. Some types of email accounts remove the email from the server when you read your mail. It's on your hard drive, no safer than before.

    Your safest bet is a scheduled backup plan, at least weekly, to a reliable backup medium. Thumb drives are convenient, but too easy to lose or destroy. With all the USB external hard drives on the market, not to mention network and wireless storage drives, it's a worthwhile investment if you're serious about safeguarding your work. Better yet, switch between a pair of backup storage locations every other month, so you always have two backups, a month apart (backup media can fail too).

    Admittedly, my backups are for more than just my writing, so I have more of a backup plan than most writers will need (and more than I've described here). But I have data, including writing, undamaged and dating back to the 1990's, and older. Over time, device have died, and storage media have failed (I have eight inch floppies for some data - try finding a drive to read them! But the data worth keeping has been transferred to newer media).
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I use an online data backup system for everything on my PC. I also use a flash drive for my writing. And when I am actively working on a project, I usually have recent generations of files on both my desktop and my laptop. That way, if I want to work on it and somebody (usually my wife) is on the desktop, I can still get something done.
     
  17. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    Just use DropBox and you don't have to worry about it. Don't make it any harder than you have to.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Ha! What on earth are you doing with all that space! Bytes and bytes of data!
     
  19. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Ouch. To be honest, I'm not especially careful with my stuff either - single copies saved on an external HDD. If the drive goes, I'm boned =S

    As far as what to do with your downtime goes, work on side projects: Either completely independent or indirectly related to your original.

    This way you're not only kept in a writing mood, but it also presents the opportunity for unique developments to occur outside the work you've already made yourself.

    You'd be surprised what you might come up with and go "wait, that'd be brilliant if I included it in such and such"
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, one disk could store about three-quarters of a meg. Such extravagance! Mostly I had program source files (C and assembly language) and compiled applications saved there, and documentation for librafry code I wrote.
     
  21. Nameless Wildflower
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    Nameless Wildflower Banned

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    Sorry that happened that is very sad. :( I once ripped up a story in a fit of anger (back when I use to write in notebooks) and I immediately regretted it. To this day I miss that story but it had helped me to use some concepts of that story in other writing. I say use this as a start over point try something new if you can't get anything back. Sometimes it helps to get a fresh start when it comes to writing. I hope everything works out for you and you get right back on that horse and start writing! :)
     
  22. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I wonder how many writers have lost their work to fits of frustration!
     
  23. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I lost my computer in a fit of frustration back when i was writing a detective story. They can be pretty annoying.
     
  24. Dragoon119
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    Dragoon119 Member

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    This has happened to me! I was writing the novel that I'm revising now. When my laptop got a massive virus and worm. I removed the internal hard drive and installed it into an enclouser. Then I replaced it with a MUCH being internal hard drive. I had to reupload the Windows 7 OS but I got everything running. Then I transferred everything over from the old hard drive (which was a 30 page prologue) into the new one installed in the laptop, I was happy and continued writing :) . However about a week later my motherboard melted and I was completely stuck. I had no laptop, no internet for three months and my writing came to a complete halt. After saving for a new laptop I quickly transferred everything from the old hard drive over but I was back to the 30 page prologue and that really pushed my novel project into one year. Something I never thought would happen. Long story short. Remove your hard drive and install it in an enclouser. You have not lost anything let as long as the hard drive is intact and dust free.
     
  25. primalpeace
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    primalpeace Member

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    When something like this is to happen, it is good to work on your writing and making the novel. Also working on the setting and plot works a lot.
     

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